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Government by the Numbers

Learn more about America's federal institutions

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Government by the Numbers

The executive branch is one of the three branches of the U.S. government; it includes the president, vice president, presidential advisors and Cabinet, 15 executive departments, as well as hundreds of other bureaus and agencies. U.S. government employees within the executive branch play a variety of critical roles, such as issuing passports, maintaining public lands, printing money, monitoring the economy, and supporting health programs.

The Executive Branch by the Numbers

14 facts about the president and other senior U.S. government officials who lead the executive branch

The executive branch is one of the three branches of the U.S. government; it includes the president, vice president, presidential advisors and Cabinet, 15 executive departments, as well as hundreds of other bureaus and agencies. U.S. government employees within the executive branch play a variety of critical roles, such as issuing passports, maintaining public lands, printing money, monitoring the economy, and supporting health programs.

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Let's get started with an easy one! How many years are in a presidential term?

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4

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Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms and as such was both the 22nd and 24th president of the United States of America.  

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What is the minimum age requirement to become president?

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35

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 Franklin D. Roosevelt, who served from 1933 to 1945, had the longest tenure as president of the United States.

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What year were presidents limited to serving only two full terms?

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1951

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Before 1804 electors voted only for president, and the candidate who received the second-greatest number of votes became vice president.

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How many vice presidents have assumed the presidency due to the death or resignation of a president.

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9

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How many main federal departments are included in the executive branch? 

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15

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The secretary of state becomes president if none of these leaders can serve: the president, vice president, speaker of the House of Representatives, or president pro tempore of the Senate.

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Of the 15 executive department heads, 14 have a title beginning with the word “secretary.” The head of the Department of Justice is called the attorney general.

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How many executive departments are headquartered outside Washington, D.C.?

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1: The Department of Defense has its main offices at the Pentagon in Virginia.

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There are over 100 agencies, offices, bureaus, and task forces in the executive branch. Some exist as sub-agencies and others are separate.

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How many Americans are employed by the executive branch? 

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4 million. They include national park rangers, FBI agents, scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and astronauts at NASA.

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There are 1000+ positions in the executive branch appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

The Supreme Court by the Numbers

15 facts about the highest court in the land 

The Supreme Court is part of the judicial branch, one of the three branches of the U.S. government. The Supreme Court was established by the U.S. Constitution, which gave it jurisdiction over all federal laws. Read these 15 facts about the nation’s top court. 

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The Judiciary Act was passed in 1789, creating the Supreme Court as a tribunal with six justices who serve until death or retirement.

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s first session was in 1790, in New York City.

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How many justices were on the first Supreme Court, in 1790.

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6

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In 1868, Congress set the number of Supreme Court justices at nine.

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115 justices have served on the Supreme Court since 1790.

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There have been 17 chief justices of the United States since 1790.

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What is the average number of years served by a Supreme Court justice — although justices can serve for life.

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17

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How many years were served by the longest-tenured Supreme Court justice: William O. Douglas, who served from 1939 to 1975?

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36

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From 2012 to 2019, the Supreme Court had, on average, 7,000 - 8,000 cases petitioned. Flip to find out more...

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These cases have already been decided by a lower court, and one of the parties is asking for the ruling to be reviewed and overturned.

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4 justice must vote in favor for a petitioned case to be granted review.

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70-80 petitions are accepted and heard by the court each year — about 1% of the filed petitions (since 2012).

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How many minutes are usually given to each side to argue its case in front of the justices.

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30

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There are 13 federal courts of appeals. They are organized in 12 regional circuits plus a federal circuit under the Supreme Court.

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There are 94 federal district courts with regional jurisdictions that are under the Supreme Court.

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In 1932 the cornerstone was laid on today’s Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill. Flip to find out more...

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Before the building was constructed, justices met in a number of places, including private homes, taverns, and the basement below the Senate chamber.

The U.S. Senate by the Numbers

12 facts about the upper chamber of the United States Congress 

The Senate is part of the legislative branch, which has the power to make laws. Some of the chamber’s key responsibilities include approving treaties and nominations for appointed U.S. government officials, including Supreme Court justices and Cabinet leaders. The Senate was designed to give each state — no matter the size of its population — equal voting power.

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There are 6 years in a senator’s term. One-third of senators are up for re-election every two years, so the chamber does not all turn over at once.

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How many votes are needed for a simple majority, the requirement for passing legislation and setting procedural rules.

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51

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How many votes are required for overriding a presidential veto,  proposing a constitutional amendment, convicting an impeached federal official, and removing a president from office?

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67

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There have been 1,994 senators who have served since 1790.

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51 senators are required to be present in order to conduct business.

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How many standing committees are in the Senate, including committees on agriculture, finance, and foreign relations.

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16

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There are 2 senators representing each state, giving the Senate 100 voting members.

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How many years was served by the longest-tenured U.S. senator, Robert Byrd of West Virginia?

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51. Before joining the Senate in 1959, he served six years in the House of Representatives.

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1789 was the first year the Senate convened. Twenty-two senators were supposed to meet on March 4, but only eight were able to get there on time.

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In 1913 the 17th Amendment was adopted, allowing voters to elect their senators directly. Prior to this, state legislatures chose senators.

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34 political parties have held seats in the Senate since 1790.

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How many times has a vice president cast a tiebreaking vote in the Senate, as of July 2021.

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276

The U.S. House of Representatives by the Numbers

18 facts about the larger chamber of the United States Congress 

The House of Representatives is part of the legislative branch, which has the power to make laws. It was designed to be closely connected to the will of the people: The House gives states voting power based on the size of their populations, and voters have always elected House members directly.

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How many years are in a representative’s term? Like senators, members of the House of Representatives have no term limits.

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2

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There are 435 voting members in the House of Representatives, who together represent the 50 states’ 329 million people. The number representing each state depends on its population.

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There are 53 members of the House of Representatives from the state with the highest population: California.

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There is one member of the House of Representatives from each of the seven states with the lowest populations: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.

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How many members represented a population of about 3.7 million in the first House of Representatives in 1789.

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65

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In 1929 Congress permanently capped the number of representatives at 435.

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How many nonvoting members are in the House of Representatives? 

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6. One represents Washington, D.C., and five represent U.S. territories: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

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There are 20 standing committees that are in the House of Representatives. Their work includes considering bills, monitoring government activities, and recommending how to spend money.

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19 presidents have also served as members of the House of Representatives. But only one — John Quincy Adams — did so after his presidency.

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How many votes are  needed for a simple majority in the House of Representatives, required for most situations such as passing legislation and setting procedural rules.

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218

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How many votes are needed for a two-thirds supermajority, required to override a presidential veto, expel members from the House of Representatives, and propose constitutional amendments?

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290

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How many years was served by the longest tenured member of the House of Representatives — John Dingell Jr. representing Michigan from 1955 to 2015.

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59

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11,000 people have served in the House of Representatives since 1789.

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54 members have served as speaker of the House of Representatives, the chamber leader who presides over debate and voting and often sets legislative priorities.

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3/5 of the enslaved population were allowed (by the framers of the Constitution)  to be counted every 10 years when determining how many representatives a state would send to the House of Representatives.

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Which amendment officially repealed the three-fifths rule. Ratified in 1868, it specified that seats in the House of Representatives would be determined by “the whole number of persons in each State.”

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14th

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The minimum age for a person to qualify to become a member of the House of Representatives is 25.

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The minimum number of years of U.S. citizenship a person must have to qualify to become a member of the House of Representatives is 7.
Nineteenth amendment facts

The 19th Amendment by the Numbers

Key facts about how women gained the right to vote

2020 marked the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed American women the right to vote. But the struggle for women’s suffrage started much earlier. Here are some of the historical highlights, as well as facts about women’s role in the electorate today. 

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There were an estimated 300 people who attended the women’s rights convention in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York, marking the beginning of widespread activism for women’s suffrage.

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An amendment for women’s suffrage was first introduced in the U.S. Senate in 1878.

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An estimated 5,000 people marched in the women’s suffrage parade in Washington, D.C., the day before President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration in 1913. 

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15 states had given women full voting rights prior to the 19th Amendment. Women in two territories (Alaska and Montana) also had full suffrage. Flip to learn more...

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 Another 12 states had granted partial voting rights to women, limiting their vote to certain races, such as presidential or municipal elections.

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The number of states — a two-thirds majority — needed to ratify the 19th Amendment for it to become law. Flip to find out...

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36

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The 19th Amendment was signed into law on August 26, 1920, by then-Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. In 1971 Congress designated that day as Women’s Equality Day.

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68% of eligible female voters cast ballots in the 2020 presidential election, compared with 65% of eligible male voters.

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It took 72 years of organized advocacy for women to gain the right to vote, dating from the Seneca Falls convention in 1848 to the adoption of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

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Wyoming was the first U.S. territory or state to grant full voting rights to women. It did so in 1869.

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What was the combined total number of signatures on a series of petitions that suffragists presented to the U.S. Senate on July 13, 1913, asking for the right to vote?

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75K

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It took 41 years for the 19th Amendment to pass both houses of Congress after being first introduced in 1878. Flip to learn more...

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The House of Representatives passed the amendment on May 21, 1919, and the Senate followed on June 4, 1919.

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Tennessee was the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, doing so on Aug. 18, 1920.

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The first presidential election where more women turned out to vote than men was in 1984. This trend has continued in every presidential election since.

Voting by the Numbers

7 facts about voting in the U.S.

When most Americans turn 18, they are eligible to cast a ballot for their local, state, and federal representatives. Let’s take a closer look at the facts about voting in America.

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66% of eligible U.S. voters cast ballots in the 2020 presidential election — the highest turnout in recent history.

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54% of American voters cast ballots in-person in the 2020 presidential election.

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46% of American voters voted by mail-in or absentee ballot in the 2020 presidential election.

The District of Columbia, Maine, and Vermont allow convicted felons to vote while incarcerated. In other states, felons lose their voting rights while incarcerated and may even lose voting rights indefinitely.

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Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington — have universal mail voting. Flip to learn more...

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In all-mail elections, every registered voter receives a ballot in the mail that can be returned either by mail or to a designated drop box.

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California, the District of Columbia, and Nevada —  implemented all-mail voting systems for the 2020 presidential election only.

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24 states plus the District of Columbia allow early in-person voting on weekends. Delaware will offer early weekend voting in 2022.
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